Chickens in the vegetable garden

The vegetable garden is fairly empty during the winter period, so it is an ideal time to introduce a few chickens. They will clear any remaining crops and hopefully gobble up any overwintering pests, hibernating in the soil. For the last few years we have had problems with allium leaf miner (leeks) and a tomato caterpillar, which would seem to overwinter in the soil. I am hoping the chickens will gobble up these pests and reduce the problem for next year.

Ideally I would like the chickens to roam freely in a large space and we did try a small movable house surrounded by metre high roll up fencing. We thought to confine them to the vegetable garden in the area which was free from overwintering crops. This lasted all of 3 days as something jumped the fence, killed one chicken and ran off with another. We originally thought it was a fox, but as the ducks freely roam across the meadow and into the woods we now think it must have been a hungry hunting dog.

Plan B is now in operation. The same moveable house but with a 5 metre run. When we are in the garden we can let them out into a larger area using the roll up fencing. Thanks to the hard work of my husband we now have a sturdy, elegant chicken run. It would be too heavy to move in one piece, so the 4 sides come apart. It should take us about an hour to take it down and move to another position. At times when we are not in the garden, we know that the chickens are safe from any roaming dogs or foxes.DSC03210

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